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Texts and Traditions of Medieval Pastoral Care

Texts and Traditions of Medieval Pastoral Care: Essays in Honour of Bella Millett

Cate Gunn
Catherine Innes-Parker
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 242
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  • Book Info
    Texts and Traditions of Medieval Pastoral Care
    Book Description:

    Pastoral and devotional literature flourished throughout the middle ages, and its growth and transmutations form the focus of this collection. Ranging historically from the difficulties of localizing Anglo-Saxon pastoral texts to the reading of women in late-medieval England, the individual essays survey its development and its transformation into the literature of vernacular spirituality. They offer both close examinations of particular manuscripts, and of individual texts, including an anonymous Speculum iuniroum, the Speculum religiosorum of Edmund of Abingdon and later vernacular compositions and translations, such as Handlyng Synne and Bonaventure's Lignum Vitae. The reading and devotional use of texts by women and solitaries is also considered. They therefore form an appropriate tribute to the work of Bella Millett, whose research has done so much to advance our knowledge of the field. Contributors: Alexandra Barratt, Mishtooni Bose, Joseph Goering, Brian Golding, C. Annette Grise, Cate Gunn, Ralph Hanna, Bob Hasenfratz, Catherine Innes-Parker, E. A. Jones, Derek Pearsall, Elaine Treharne, Nicholas Watson, Jocelyn Wogan-Browne

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-769-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-ix)
    (pp. x-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Derek Pearsall
    (pp. xv-xvii)
    (pp. xviii-xx)
  8. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Catherine Innes-Parker and Cate Gunn

    Bella Millett is best known for her work on the early thirteenth-century English guide for anchoresses,Ancrene Wisse, culminating in her recently publishedCorrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402 with Variants from Other Manuscripts. The very title suggests Millett’s approach: magisterial, thorough and correct, yet acknowledging variations; never boastful but always respectful of her material; never assuming knowledge in her readers, but never patronizing. The precision and clarity Millett brings to her editing are also the hallmarks of her writing – which has a wider range than the early thirteenth century English works she is...

  9. 1 ‘Vae Soli’: Solitaries and Pastoral Care
    (pp. 11-28)
    E. A. Jones

    Vae soli, says the Preacher: ‘Woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth, he hath none to lift him up’ (Eccles. 4. 10). The lament is perfect ammunition for anyone who wishes to emphasize the dangers of the solitary vocation in general, and in particular to highlight the problems it poses for a system of pastoral care.

    Thelocus classicusis St Basil’s argument for the superiority of the common life in the seventh of his Longer Rules.² He reasons that, whilst an individual may have one or more spiritual gifts, the result when a group of individuals...

  10. 2 Scribal Connections in Late Anglo-Saxon England
    (pp. 29-46)
    Elaine Treharne

    This paper aims to honour Bella Millett’s quite outstanding contribution to early medieval textual studies² by focusing on the scriptoria of western England in the late Anglo-Saxon period. As Professor Millett has so convincingly illustrated in relation to the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, our understanding of the ways in which texts are produced, transmitted and used is much enlightened by recognizing broad networks of ecclesiastical and scholarly influence and exchange. In her work onAncrene Wisseand the ‘Katherine Group’, Millett has asked us, effectively, to reappraise our apprehension of the regional locus of these texts’ origin. Instead...

  11. 3 Gerald of Wales, the Gemma Ecclesiastica and Pastoral Care
    (pp. 47-61)
    Brian Golding

    Gerald of Wales, who was proud of all his literary output, was clearly particularly proud of theGemma Ecclesiastica.¹ With typically false self-deprecation he wrote in the preface that if perhaps the work should cross the Anglo-Welsh border and fall into the hands of the great, and be seen by the eyes of the learned, he would prefer that they read what they knew already than that his Welsh readership should be deprived.² And in a famous passage in his autobiography he tells how when he visited Rome in 1199 he presented Pope Innocent III with six of his books...

  12. 4 Time to Read: Pastoral Care, Vernacular Access and the Case of Angier of St Frideswide
    (pp. 62-77)
    Jocelyn Wogan-Browne

    The question of whether equipping audiences with an internalized penitential vocabulary and opening up pastoral reading to them does not simultaneously render them independent of their instructors is an area of concern in vernacularpastoralia. As a result, clerical writers, whether anxious to keep their vernacular audiences more dependent or more autonomous, tend to articulate explicitly and copiously the rationale and aims of their work and the common interests, as they see them, of themselves and their audiences.Pastoraliaare always potentially texts of writerly as well as readerly self-awareness and often surprisingly innovative. Bella Millett has recently shown, for...

  13. 5 Lambeth Palace Library, MS 487: Some Problems of Early Thirteenth-century Textual Transmission
    (pp. 78-88)
    Ralph Hanna

    Among her many important contributions, our honorand has recently reminded us of the cultural importance of Lambeth Palace Library, MS 487.¹ Although its texts have been available since the early years of the Early English Text Society (see n. 5), this volume, mainly composed of homilies, has been long neglected. Here, I want to extend Bella Millett’s findings and to argue that, beyond its innovative homiletic techniques, the book offers some broader purchase on the circulation of English texts in the earlier thirteenth century.

    Although the shape and contents of the Lambeth manuscript should be well known, I will begin...

  14. 6 Pastoral Texts and Traditions: The Anonymous Speculum Iuniorum (c. 1250)
    (pp. 89-99)
    Joseph Goering

    The anonymoussummaentitledSpeculum iuniorumdeserves pride of place among the masterpieces of Latin pastoral literature written for the education of priests and pastors of souls in England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This ambitious work, written around 1250 possibly by a Dominican friar, and extending to more than 100 folios in many of the twelve known manuscript copies,¹ is a unique amalgam of the latest teachings of the schools and the practical literature of pastoral care. It provides us, among other things, with a clear view of the syllabus of studies in theology and law that was...

  15. 7 Reading Edmund of Abingdon’s Speculum as Pastoral Literature
    (pp. 100-114)
    Cate Gunn

    Edmund of Abingdon’s¹Speculum religiosorum, composed originally for a religious audience, is an examination of what it means to live perfectly. His own career acquainted Edmund with a number of different forms of religious life: although he was associated with monastic houses – he spent time not only at the Augustinian house of Merton but also the Cistercian house of Pontigny – he was a secular priest. C. H. Lawrence suggests that Edmund wrote theSpeculumaround 1213–14 when he was staying at Merton Priory,² before he incepted in theology at Oxford, 3 and some years before he became archbishop of...

  16. 8 Middle English Versions and Audiences of Edmund of Abingdon’s Speculum Religiosorum
    (pp. 115-131)
    Nicholas Watson

    Unlike its nearest early thirteenth century insular counterpart,Ancrene Wisse, which was rendered into Anglo-Norman within thirty years of its final revision and Latin within fifty, Edmund of Abingdon’sSpeculum religiosorumcirculated in only two of England’s three languages for well over a century. Despite its composition by one of England’s most celebrated saint-bishops, translation into Anglo-Norman (usually asMirour de seinte eglyse) and retranslation several times into Latin (often under a title such asSpeculum ecclesie), the first Middle English versions of the work date from the late fourteenth century. WhereAncrene Wisseplayed a fundamental role in the...

  17. 9 Terror and Pastoral Care in Handlyng Synne
    (pp. 132-148)
    Robert Hasenfratz

    Handlyng Synneis a scary text. It and its source, theManuel des Péchés,¹ present the consequences of sin and improper or incomplete confession in stark, often terrifying terms: priests and holy men with uncanny powers for detecting mortal sin,² strangulation by invisible hands (877 – 976, 2221 – 352, 3156 – 242, 6377 – 492), sudden death in mid-sin (877 – 976, 2697 – 722, 3356 – 96, 4703 – 32, 11,719 – 54), the horrific desecrations of sinners’ corpses or graves (1547 – 82, 1741 – 862, 7983–8080, 8747 – 78, 11,083 – 126), pleas for release from tormented phantoms (2221 – 352, 3556 – 620, 10, 403 – 96, 11,011 – 66), lurid...

  18. 10 Prophecy, Complaint and Pastoral Care in the Fifteenth Century: Thomas Gascoigne’s Liber Veritatum
    (pp. 149-162)
    Mishtooni Bose

    In his commentary on St Matthew’s gospel, Thomas Aquinas identifies two purposes of prophecy: confirmation of the faith and the correction of morals. In his view, the second task ‘is never complete, nor will it ever be’.¹ There is some continuity between this statement and Benedict XVI’s recent assertion that a certain ‘prophetic-charismatic history traverses the whole time of the Church. It is always there especially at the most critical times of transition.’² Such statements indicate the necessity, and indeed the inevitability, of prophetic discourse as an essential element in the evolution and continuous reform of the Church. But ‘prophecy’...

  19. 11 Pastoral Concerns in the Middle English Adaptation of Bonaventure’s Lignum Vitae
    (pp. 163-177)
    Catherine Innes-Parker

    The influence of St Bonaventure on the devotional climate of the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries is well known.¹ His own writings circulated widely, and the tradition of affective devotion was also developed in many texts attributed to him, such as the pseudo-BonaventureMeditationes Vitae Christi. Both Bonaventure’s own writings and those attributed to him were translated into numerous vernacular languages and circulated throughout Europe. One such text is Bonaventure’sLignum Vitae, which was translated into at least five vernacular languages, and also had a strong influence on the iconographic tradition of manuscript illumination and artistic representation throughout the late Middle...

  20. 12 Prayer, Meditation and Women Readers in Late Medieval England: Teaching and Sharing Through Books
    (pp. 178-192)
    C. Annette Grisé

    The connections made in Bella Millett’s important article ‘Ancrene Wisseand the Book of Hours’ between pastoral instruction for anchoresses and the development of extra-liturgical devotional manuscripts for those who held an ‘intermediate position betweenliteratiand the illiterate’¹ illustrate the ways in which many readers benefited from vernacular devotional texts originally written for pious women. Starting fromAncrene Wissethrough to the end of the Middle Ages there developed a large programme of pastoral instruction through vernacular devotional texts aimed at semi-religious and religious women, attested to even by the manuscript history of thirteenth-century instruction for anchoresses. Through its...

  21. 13 ‘Take a Book and Read’: Advice for Religious Women
    (pp. 193-208)
    Alexandra Barratt

    Reading, prayer and meditation constituted a major part of the job-description for medieval religious. As the three activities were not so much a triad as a continuum, the boundaries between them constantly shifting, it is hard to know what exactly devout women, and their spiritual advisers, understood by the terms in the 300 years leading up to the dissolution of the monasteries. Prayer and meditation were particularly problematic. In contrast, reading seems less so, but it too was not always an activity distinct from the others, while the promotion of ‘reading’per seled on to a more awkward question:...

  22. INDEX
    (pp. 209-216)
    (pp. 217-218)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-223)